Samuel Mitchill

From Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia

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Samuel Latham Mitchill (1764-1831) was an American physician, naturalist, a Democratic-Republican U.S. Representative (1801-1804) and Senator (1804-1809) from New York, and an ally to De Witt Clinton. Mitchill graduated from the University of Edinburgh and taught chemistry, botany, and natural history at Columbia College from 1792 to 1801.

As a leading scholar, Mitchill founded the Rutgers Medical School, and the journal Medical Repository. In their correspondence, Thomas Jefferson not only talked politics but also about science, as well. In the context of a movement to change the name of the United States to something more "poetic", Mitchill states to the President in a 1803 letter his choice for a new name: Fredonia.[1]


  1. 4 December 1803. Letterpress copy available at Library of Congress.

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